Sunday, 26 October 2008

"For when the wine is in, the wit is out" Thomas Becon (1512 - 1567)


i would like to open with these words,

Reality is an illusion that occurs due to lack of wine. Hahahahahahahahaha


Let me first make this confession my dear friends and readers, i am not an alcohol person, as a matter of fact i am continually mystified by the lure that this liquid has on people, indeed, painfully shy and timid people are embolden, the sorrowful forget or plunge even further into their misery, relationships are broken "i was drunk when i did it" (hala if you've been there, lol), some are even started, the list just goes on and on.

but what i do know is wines and the airs it affords those that worship at its altar. wine drinking is a great constant in civilised society, those who do not drink it are more often than not( even if they don't admit it) mystified, baffled and left feeling inadequate by the numerous etiquette that accompany it. fear not one and all, i come to clear the shroud of mystery as much as i can. after all with all the dinner parties my fellow 9ja's will be attending as the festive season approaches, i need u all with your classy foot 4ward. now for the where u have been to know where you are going lesson, a brief history on wines.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest production of wine, made by fermenting grapes, took place in sites in Israel, Georgia and Iran, from as early as 6000 BC. These locations are all within the natural area of the European grapevine Vitis vinifera.
A 2003 report by archaeologists indicates a possibility that grapes were used together with rice to produce mixed fermented beverages in China as early as 7000 BC. Pottery jars from the Neolithic site of Jiahu, Henan were found to contain traces of tartaric acid and other organic compounds commonly found in wine. However, other fruits indigenous to the region, such as hawthorn, could not be ruled out. If these beverages, which seem to be the precursors of rice wine, included grapes rather than other fruits, these grapes were of any of the several dozen indigenous wild species of grape in China, rather than from Vitis vinifera, which were introduced into China some 6000 years later.
The oldest known evidence of wine production in Europe is dated to 4500 BC and comes from archaeological sites in Greece. The same sites also contain the world’s earliest evidence of crushed grapes. In Ancient Egypt, six of 36 wine amphoras were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun bearing the name "Kha'y", a royal chief vinter. Five of these amphoras were designated as from the King's personal estate with the sixth listed as from the estate of the royal house of Aten. Traces of wine have also been found in central Asian Xinjiang, dating from the second and first millennia BC.
Wine has also played an important role in religion throughout history. The Greek god Dionysos and the Roman equivalent Bacchus(makes me wonder what ever happened to that 9ja wine, bacchus tonic wine, i think that was what it was called) represented wine, and the drink is also used in Christian and Jewish ceremonies such as the Eucharist and Kiddush.In medieval Europe, the Roman Catholic Church was a staunch supporter of wine since it was necessary for the celebration of Mass. In places such as Germany, beer was banned and considered pagan and barbaric, while wine consumption was viewed as civilized and a sign of conversion to Christianity. Monks in France made wine for years, storing it underground in caves to age.

In the Islamic world, wine was forbidden during the Islamic Golden Age. After Geber and other Muslim chemists pioneered the distillation of wine, however, it was legalized for cosmetic and medical uses. In fact, the 10th-century Persian philosopher and scientist Al Biruni described recipes where herbs, minerals and even gemstones are mixed with wine for medicinal purposes. Wine became so revered and its effect so feared that elaborate theories were developed about which gemstones would best counteract its negative side effects.
okay enuff with the past now into the present. wine basically is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of grape juice. The natural chemical balance of grapes is such that they can ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes or other nutrients. Wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast which consume the sugars found in the grapes and convert them into alcohol. Various varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts are used depending on the types of wine produced.
Although other fruits such as apples and berries can also be fermented, the resultant "wines" are normally named after the fruit from which they are produced (for example, apple wine or elderberry wine.
in the world of wines just as any other, there are different sets of terms of lingo if you will, understanding them helps you hold court with a bottle of wine and become a master.
Austere - The wine is kind of stiff or tight, sort of hard. Hard to tell other traits.
Balance - Describing the relationship between tannin, acid and alcohol. You want to drink a "well-balanced" wine.
Big - A strong, perhaps alcoholic wine. It is a good wine that can get better.
Buttery - A sort of smooth feel and taste, like butter. Most often seen in white wines, which have undergone malolactic fermentation.
Dry - If sugar remains in the wine it is sweet. When it isn't sweet, it’s dry.
Flabby - A bland tasting wine that isn't going to get any better.
Grassy (orherbaceous) - Smells like grass. Often seen in Sauvignon Blanc.
Hard - A wine that has a lot of tannin still in it, like a young fine red. The tannin keeps you from tasting the other qualities of the wine, which will come out through maturation.
Nose - The totality of what you smell.
Thin - A watery sort of wine.
Cru - refers to wine from a high-quality vineyard
Sec - dry
Brut - dry (Champagne)
Demi-sec - off dry (fairly sweet for Champagne)
Doux - sweet
Liquoreux - very sweet
Cuvee - A wine blended from several vats or batches, or from a selected vat. Also used in Champagne to denote the juice from the first pressing of a batch of grapes.
Vintage - The year in which a particular wine's grapes were harvested. When a vintage year is indicated on a label, it signifies that all the grapes used to make the wine in the bottle were harvested in that year.
these are by no means all the terminologies, you can read up on the thousands that there are if you so wish, its quite easy to find.
Now we go into the different types of wines
Alcoholic wines : wines that retain their alcohol
Non- alcoholic wines : which is made with the same process as alcoholic wine but the alcohol is evaporated before bottling, there is still minute traces of alcohol left though but this should not be confused with grape juice which is made from the unfermented juice of grapes. a company named Ariel is renowned for their non-alcoholic wines after winning gold medal against wines with alcohol.
Alcoholic wines are further divided into
Red wine : is made from an assortment of grapes that are reddish, purple and even deep blue in colour.It is the grape skins that are responsible for the red wine’s distinct color spectrum. The skins are in contact with the grape’s juice during the fermentation process, allowing the dispersion of both color and tannins. The individual wine’s particular red hue depends on the grape type used in the process and the length of time the skin’s pigmentation is in contact with juice.
White wine : white wine differs from red wine firstly because of the colour. this is mainly due to the pressing of the grapes. When white grapes are picked, they are immediately pressed and the juice is removed from the skins with little contact. Color in white wine does vary, often from the type of grape, occasionally from the use of wood.
Rose/Blush/Pink wines : Rose wines, often referred to as Blush wines or written Rosé, are wines which are not truly red, but have enough of a reddish tinge to make them assuredly not white. The actual color varies depending on the grapes involved, and often may seem to be more orange than pink or purple.
Rice wine : Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage made from rice. Unlike wine, which is made by fermentation of naturally sweet grapes and other fruit, rice "wine" results from the fermentation of rice starch converted to sugars.
Cooking wine : is considered a wine of such poor quality, that it is unpalatable by itself and intended for use only in cooking. There is a school of thought that advises against cooking with any wine one would find unacceptable to drink. Most professional chefs prefer to use inexpensive but drinkable wine for cooking, as they believe the added preservative significantly lowers the quality of the wine and subsequently the food made with that wine.
Desert wine : By definition, a dessert wine is a wine that has a higher sugar content (called residual sugar) than normal table wines.
Sparkling wine : is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it making it fizzy. The carbon dioxide may result from natural fermentation, (either in a bottle, as with the méthode champenoise, or in a large tank designed to withstand the pressures involved, as in the Charmat process) or as a result of carbon dioxide injection.
Ginger wine : is a fortified wine made from a fermented blend of ground ginger and raisins(can any1 say YUCK).
Fruit wine : are fermented alcoholic beverages made from a variety of ingredients (other than grapes) and having a variety of flavours. Fruit wines are usually referred to by their main ingredient fruit (e.g., plum wine), since the word wine alone is often legally defined as a beverage made only from grapes.
Champagne : is a sparkling wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of wine to effect carbonation. It is produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France, from which it takes its name. While the term "champagne" is used by some makers of sparkling wine in other parts of the world, numerous countries limit the use of the term to only those wines that come from the Champagne appellation.
that's all for today folks phewwwwwww, i will go in depth with the different wines later, what dishes they go best with, what glass to use etc. i promise to have all this done b4 d festivities are in earnest.
enjoy
mwahhhhhhhh


1 comment:

Four2One said...

I love your new blog background..it is really nice...

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